A Newburgh Free Academy teacher is back in the classroom after receiving a national teaching award.

Linda Romano is the ACTE National Teacher of the Year, awarded by The Association for Career and Technical Education. Romano teaches nursing as a health science educator, and received the award in Nashville last week.

The criteria for this award is that a teacher must show innovation in the classroom, a commitment to students and dedication to improving career and tech education in their communities. They're criteria her students say she definitely meets.

"More schools need teacher like Mrs. Romano, because she is the real definition of what a teacher should be," said Newburgh Free Academy Certified Nursing Assistant Senior Heather Aponte. "All teachers should meet up to her standards because she is excellent. I love her."

Lawmakers were on hand to congratulate Romano, and Senator Bill Larkin read a proclamation from Governor Andrew Cuomo, honoring Romano's hard work. When addressing students, Romano told them how important they are to her and who she is as a teacher.

"It is you that makes me who I am, and it will always be you, and I always dedicate myself to service to you forever, and ever, until I cannot breathe anymore, OK?" she said.

Romano hopes the award will give her students more recognition, so they can have more clinical opportunities before graduating.